Our History

There are few Employee Assistance Programs in North America that can truly be described as collaborative.  In 1980, MacMillan Bloedel Limited, (now part of Western Forest Products Ltd), at that time Canada's largest forest products company, and its five Canadian unions pioneered a program that in every sense of the word is a cooperative effort.

It is not only jointly developed by management and union or employee group, it encompasses family members and retirees, and it works in partnership with the community and its resources.

The model owes its success to the fact it is a grassroots program, built from the ground up.  Owned and operated by the people it serves, each community program is establised on the principles of local ownership and collective accountability, and designed to address the unique needs of that community and its workplaces.

Our ARS opened the doors of our first office October 1, 1987 in Campbell River. Through the collaborated efforts of seven of Campbell River's larger employers and their affiliated unions, an independent society was created to provide assistance for employees with workplace troubles, difficulties in their personal lives, and, to ensure their dependent family members and retirees could find support.

The founding members represented a broad cross section of employers and unions of the local community. They included three divisions of MacMillan Bloedel Limited (now Western Forest Products) and IWA (now USWA) locals 2171, 1-85, 1-363; Crown Forest Industries (now Catalyst and TimberWest) and CEP Locals 1123 and 630; Westmin Resources (now NVI Mining) and CAW Local 3019; District of Campbell River (now City of CR) and CUPE Local 623 (now Local 401); Campbell River and District General Hospital with its four employee groups: BC Nurses, HSA Local 230, HEU Local 182, and IUE Local 258; British Columbia Forest Products, and Steve Marshall Motors Ltd.

From one office in Campbell River we have now expanded to three offices. An office was opened in the Comox Valley in 1993 and then in 2006, we merged with the North Island ARS (with an office in Port McNeill) to become one agency offering service from Fanny Bay to the northern tip of Vancouver Island, including east to west, Cortez Island to Gold River, Tahsis and Port Alice.



“Creating Healthy Employees, Families and Communities”